Paul Verhoven’s original Robocop was one of the first films I ever reviewed. Well, saying it was a ‘review’ is being generous, particularly in view of what my film criticism has evolved to: analytic breakdowns of other fimmakers’ work that serve as chapters for an ever-expanding, auto-didactic guide for my own work as a filmmaker. My reviews back then were more like enthusiastic or scathing write-ups in miserable prose; I could smith a sentence or two in letters, but I had no idea what I was doing in articles. I still shudder when I remember the crap I flung out there in my early twenties. In print, in public. The shame.
It’s unlikely that particular review survives. All that remains in my memory bank is impressionistic snapshots of the film, the feelings I had when I left the screening room. Prior to Robocop, the only superhero I’d ever had was Gandalf; many a broom handle was turned into a magical staff that smote seething balrogs and orcish hoards,